In the latest election, the people bypassed a man of enormous integrity, character, and competence, and voted for a glib, clueless fool, largely because of the color of his skin. This, after the fool had already been elected once and had driven the country into a ditch, domestically and internationally.
This has served to finalize my growing skepticism about democracy. The founders were right, democracy always destroys itself. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” He also said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
The founders were well aware of the perils of democracy, which is why they designed a government intended to prevent democracy from rearing it’s alluring head: very limited voting franchise, the Senate not popularly elected, the electoral college as a responsible buffer between the demos and their representatives, and severe limits on what Congress and the President were allowed to do.
The franchise is now universal, the Senate is popularly elected, the electoral college is now not much more than a formality, with cries to eliminate it altogether, and the Constitution has been gradually interpreted to mean that Congress can do anything it wants as long as it involves interstate commerce, with an almost unimaginably broad definition of what constitutes interstate commerce. President Obama has now discovered that he can just exercise Presidential fiat if Congress won’t pass the legislation he desires. Executive orders and bureaucratic regulations can do pretty much everything that laws can do.
Greece is not only the birthplace of democracy. It is the perfect example of what democracy leads to. For democracy’s opening act, Socrates was sentenced to death. Now the demos riots in the streets because the people they borrowed money from want to be repaid. I fear our democracy’s days are numbered, and the $16 trillion dollar debt (which is a lie. The real debt is incalculably north of that already incomprehensible figure) will be the mechanism of its demise.